RIPENED FRUIT

Prayer: Lord, help us to encourage others who are in the desert with the hope that their lives can be like ripened fruit, watered by the God who “reigns.” Amen

Scripture: The wilderness and the desert will be glad, and the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it will blossom profusely and rejoice with rejoicing and shouts of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, but He will save you.” Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah. Isaiah 35:1-6 NAS

Many of us live in desert areas and can picture the desolation of a dry, parched area with limited vegetation. Sadly, many of us can also identify with the dryness that contributed to thousands of acres of wildfires this past summer and the history-making drought that is plaguing the crops across America.

A dry and thirsty land suffers; it is not productive, but rather decays and blows away in the wind. Mankind can be like this: exhausted, anxious, feeble, fearful and fragile. A friend who is a farmer in my small group describes people as, “ripening or rotting.” We can all recall scenes on the news of rotting, withering crops. If you have not already prayed over this urgent issue, I beg you to add it to your prayer list.

While we are in need of rain and crop restoration, today’s Scripture reminds us of the promises of God and the life that the living water of Jesus Christ brings. These verses describe parts of Israel and the Middle East that are dry, desolate places that one day will rejoice in blossom as man rejoices in the blessing of life that can only come by living water. God has planned to return creation to the beauty for which it groans, the restoration of its created state “in the beginning.”

As we sometimes do not even know how to pray over the desires and pains in our hearts, as we cry out for the feeble, the sick, the scared and the scarred, these verses give vision to our hope. There will be a day when blooms cover the desert and blessings gush forth like a flash flood, sweeping away hurt and pain that has cursed this planet since Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. Yes, a day is coming when the disabled will be fully able, justice will triumph and profuse joy will break forth in the wildernesses of life. If you are looking for God’s work and glory, you can see it every day—but a day will come when we will see the full glory and majesty of the Lord! For today, our assignment is clear, “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not.” We must walk with watering cans of living water, pouring out His love and message of hope. We must live as refreshing raindrops being poured out as an offering to our God.

Copyright Kathy Branzell.   To connect with the author, email info@christianeducators.org

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